North Koreans live in one of the most difficult places on Earth 

Every day, the people of North Korea face obstacles like famine, political oppression, and a broken system of government that allows little freedom. North Koreans are forbidden from speaking out, from gathering, from traveling, from accessing information from the outside world, or from many freedoms that are necessary to pursue a better life. North Koreans who violate these restrictions are subject to extremely harsh punishment, including imprisonment in concentration camps where they face torture and abuse. For these reasons, many North Koreans seek to escape the country, but the journey is extremely risky. North Koreans are frequently caught up in forced labor or sex trafficking, and at any point in the journey through China, they risk getting caught and sent back- where execution is very likely.


Liberty in North Korea is a movement changing the story of North Korea

Liberty in North Korea is an organization that believes nobody should have to live the way many North Koreans are forced to. When North Koreans escape, LiNK seeks to help get them out of China and into a new safe country to be resettled. Ultimately, North Korean refugees become a key player in the country's eventual freedom. Their connections back inside North Korea provide a rare opportunity to communicate and exchange ideas beyond its borders.

Many people outside North Korea primarily associate the country with nuclear weapons and dictator personalities. By changing the narrative to focus on the stories of ordinary North Koreans, the organization pursues a future for the country where its people are not forgotten and are empowered to create a new reality with a better future.


In late 2012, I lived out of a van to raise awareness

To help raise awareness and funds for the organization, I spent weeks living out of a van with two teammates. We traveled up and down the Heartland, from Colorado to Minnesota to Ohio to Texas, speaking at high schools, churches, universities, coffee shops, retirement homes, and for anyone who would listen. We encouraged people to sign up to support the cause monthly, and to keep their focus on the North Korean people. The tour was a success in that it helped raise $75,000 for LiNK's refugee work while expanding the movement's profile. I gained a life-transforming experience, as LiNK is an organization that is all about people. I learned a lot about how to live for others, whether that means those living in persecution in North Korea, or the many, many connections I made at LiNK who would turn into lifelong friends I remain close to.




Philippe Lazaro